The 10 Best Film Schools in Los Angeles

Everybody knows: if you want to get into the movies, you’ve got to go to Hollywood. Well, more specifically, you need to go to Los Angeles. That’s where you’ll find actors, studios, agents – all the parts responsible for putting images up on the silver screen. 

But more importantly, Los Angeles has a tremendous amount of film schools. Sure, anyone can make a movie using the phone they carry in their pocket. But the craft of filmmaking involves a lot more than just pointing a camera at something and yelling “action!” If you want to make a mark in Hollywood, you’ll need to understand directing, cinematography, and editing, to say nothing of the many network connections you’ll need to establish. 

You can get all of those skills and resources at film school. In film school, you’ll work under experts in the field who have perfected their techniques. You’ll collaborate with other people passionate about the art, who will challenge you to create your best work. Furthermore, film school will give you access to technology that is standard in the industry, but far too expensive for most people to afford. 

Schools in Los Angeles will give you all of those opportunities and put you in contact with industry professionals. But not all film schools are the same, and with so many choices available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. 

Here are the ten best film schools in Los Angeles.

10. Columbia College Hollywood

Building off the model of its Chicago-based predecessor, Columbia College Hollywood takes a student-centered approach to teaching the film arts. 

Based in the Tarzana area, CC-H offers a perfect environment in which young filmmakers can learn their trade. Screenings, classes, and events are held in either the school’s 96-seat 5.1 channel surround sound theater or its smaller 35-seat 7.1 channel surround sound screening room. Students can create productions on the school’s sound stage or its three-camera HD television stage, which also features a green screen and a control room. 

Those learning editing and other behind-the-scenes skills can take advantage of the Foley/ADR suite, which has a sound-isolated booth and a control room or any of its post-production editing suites. Finally, CCH also has plenty of standard sets, writers’ rooms, and traditional classrooms, as well as a 5,000-square-foot Learning Resource Center.

9. Biola University School of Cinema and Media Studies

Biola University School of Cinema and Media Studies enjoys acclaim from many of the top industry magazines, with Variety, The Wrap, and Filmmaker ranking the school among the best in the country

In addition to a faculty comprised of industry professionals and a campus that features state-of-the-art equipment, Biola offers film studies from a Christian perspective. Students learn how to use filmmaking as an expression of faith. That’s particularly attractive to those who see their interest in media as a calling. 

With these resources at their disposal, Biola has trained graduates who go on to work for major studios such as Lucasfilm and Universal pictures, contributing to culture-defining projects including The Avengers and New Girl. These connections will put Biola students on the path toward making a tangible impact on the industry.

8.  Occidental College

Occidental College
Geographer, Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union, CC BY 1.0

At Occidental College, the Media Arts & Culture department combines the practical concerns of production with a background in media theory, through which students develop critical and creative skills for creating increasingly participatory media. Taking advantage of its position in downtown Los Angeles, the only liberal arts school with that distinction, OC Media Arts places students in the heart of the movie-making business. 

But while the school is a proud member of the Los Angeles community, it does not allow its students to remain stuck in the area. OC’s Media Arts program strongly encourages students to participate in study abroad opportunities, which enable them to learn the craft of filmmaking in England, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, and elsewhere. In these locales, students will gain new skills and gain a perspective of filmmaking as an increasingly global trade. 

7. California State University, Northridge

CSU Northridge
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

In a fast-changing field like film and entertainment, up-to-date technology is a must. That’s why the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at California State University – Northridge put its $80,000 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to good use. Over the course of three years, the school has updated its production facilities with new cameras and sound and lighting equipment. 

This new equipment augments CTVA’s already impressive resources. The department features film and television sound stages, post-production and mixing suites, a new media lab, and a digital visual effects and animation suite. Events and shows are broadcast in the 130-seat Elaine and Alan Armer Screening Room, and the CSUN Cinematheque programs film series and other events.

With such a strong program, it’s no wonder that CTVA can boast of alumni such as Ami Cohen, who recently became Vice President of Physical Production-Television at Lionsgate Entertainment. 

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